When you meet 5-year-old Christian, he will proudly tell you that he is “trilingual” because he knows English, Spanish and braille.
That’s because Christian is legally blind. Diagnosed with cancer at the young age of 3 years old, Christian unfortunately lost his sight a few years ago in a surgery to remove a growing tumor the size of three dollar coins from his brain.
“After visiting an eye specialist, we learned he needed glasses and was unable to see out of his right eye,” said his mother, Brenda. “He had chemo treatment for a year and half, dealing with the slowest childhood growing cancer.”
“I heard about Make-A-Wish Arizona from the child life department at Phoenix Children's Hospital and I instantly thought that meant my kid is dying,” said Brenda. “But I went on to learn that Make-A-Wish grants wishes for kids with many conditions and kids who are not terminally ill.”
When Christian learned he could have a wish, his entire family was filled with excitement.
“I felt so happy and felt special,” said Christian. “I love swimming and Disney characters, so I wished to go on a Disney cruise because that had both!”
Soon, Christian’s family received a call informing them that Christian’s doctor had approved his wish. They had a calendar counting down the days to their cruise with a Mickey Mouse sticker covering up each day that grew closer.
“This gave Christian something to look forward to and think about something other than doctor visits and chemo treatments,” said Brenda. “It happened all at once for us, and I think that is what is special about Christian’s wish. It happened at a time when we all needed it.”
Christian and his family couldn’t wait to set sail on their cruise in October.
“It turned out to be the best month for us,” Brenda continued. “Our family participated in the Walk For Wishes and raised funds for Christian’s team, his chemo was done, and we had his wish coming up. It was perfect because we were able to celebrate that Christian made it.”
When his wish day had arrived, Christian said he felt like a V.I.P. from the moment he boarded the ship.
“Every night we would read the newsletter for the following day's activities and he wanted to do it all,” shared Brenda. “Often times he was so exhausted but didn't want to nap because there was another adventure to be had.”
“When I think about my wish I feel like a very special kid, and I was so happy,” says Christian. “I loved every part but felt extra special meeting Mickey Mouse and swimming in the Mickey Mouse shaped pool!”
Christian is now cancer free, although he will continue to have to take hormone replacements every day for the rest of his life. Looking back on that week, his wish trip will always be special to Christian and his family.
“It was great to see that smile on Christian’s face every morning when he made his plans for the day on his wish,” said Brenda. “Everything exceeded our expectations, everything was covered and I did not have to think about one thing.”